Isla del Coco Hosts Voting Precinct

February 10, 2006

Democracy traveled some 500 kilometers into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, when for the first time in Costa Rican history, inhabitants of Isla del Coco National Park could vote on the island.

After the island’s voting precinct closed at 6 p.m., the same time as those in mainland Costa Rica, a Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) delegate counted the island’s 24 votes.

Of the island’s 33 eligible voters, nine did not exercise their right, according to the marine conservation organization MarViva.

Environment Minister Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, present at the island for the election and for Monday’s inauguration of a small hydroelectric plant built by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), began the voting process with a prayer, followed by the national anthem.

The Elections Tribunal in San José started announcing preliminary vote counts on Sunday night with the Isla del Coco precinct.

Of the 24 votes for President, 19 went to the two leading parties: 10 to Citizen Action Party (PAC) candidate Ottón Solís and nine to National Liberation Party (PLN) candidate Oscar Arias. Two votes were declared null, and the rest went to minority parties.

The installation of a public telephone system and Internet through ICE and Radiográfica Costarricense S.A., the stateowned Internet provider, allowed for transmission of these results from the island, said a statement from ICE.

The new hydroelectric plant has a 45-kilowatt capacity and will prevent pollution produced by the geothermal plants used on the island, according to the statement.

 

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